Cloudy with a Chance of Games

Yesterday Amazon finally announced Luna their cloud gaming platform. This was an unexpected move and got many people of guard including ourselves. Luna was expected next year and was seeming delayed due to on the ongoing world situation. While we received some information we have not received all of it but we will go through what we know so far.

Luna is using a subscription base model ala Netflix of Games.

The major differentiator between Stadia and Luna is that Luna uses a subscription-based model. This means from the outset you will not be able to buy individual games on Luna like you can on Stadia. All the games will be part of a channel system. So far there are two channels announced the first being Luna +. The games in Luna + are a mix of some big “AAA” games to a curated selection of smaller titles. The way I would describe it as a bit like the Prime Video selection. There are at least a few games that most people would like to play. The full list of games can be found here.

Also confirmed as coming to Luna is a Ubisoft channel. This in all but name is Uplay +. It has been stated the Ubisoft Channel on Luna will contain 50 games and they will likely be the Ultimate Edtion of the games. Games including Assassins Creed Valhalla, Fenix Rising, and Far Cry 6. Ubisoft has confirmed that games will arrive on the platform day 1.

What price is Luna + and the other channels?

Luna + will be $5.99 and this will get you access to at least 50 games. At this moment of time, there is no pricing for the Ubisoft channel but a guestimate price would be around $15 a month like Uplay + on PC. This again will contain at least 50 games however we do not know the full make-up of the titles but Assassins Creed Valhalla, Far Cry 6 (when it launches) and Immortals Fenyx Rising will be included.

What devices does Luna work on?

You can use the Luna app on:

  • PC (requires Windows 10 with support for DirectX 11)
  • Mac (OSX 10.13+)
  • FireTV devices (Fire TV Stick – 2nd gen, Fire TV Stick 4K, or Fire TV Cube – 2nd gen)

Additionally you can use:

  • Chrome web browser (version 83+) for PC and Mac
  • Safari web browser (iOS14) for iPhone and iPad

What controllers can you use?

You can use a Luna controller which has been developed with Luna in mind. Alternatively, you can use a mouse, keyboard, and “compatible” controllers. you will likely be able to use Xbox and PlayStation.

What resolution is Luna

Luna is 1080p for most titles however select titles will run in 4k.

Are there any Prime Benefits?

At this moment in time, there are no Amazon Prime benefits however during Early Access they have stated they are looking at ways to integrate Prime in.

Luna is using a Windows rather than Linux

If a developer or publisher wants to bring their game to Luna the process seems easier to port there games to Luna. If games are running on Windows bringing games to Luna looks like it will be a relatively easy process.

Family share features are supported

This is a little more complicated and needs some more explanation. Family sharing of a sort is available on Luna day 1 on the Luna + channel. Two people can play on games on that channel at a time. However, for additional channels, this will be on a case-by-case basis. The Ubisoft channel will only allow one person at a time on that channel. Further information is likely to be needed to clarify this. For example, if you are two people are playing on Luna + can a 3rd person be playing on the Ubisoft channel etc. What happens if there is a crossover of games between channels etc.

Early access for Luna is starting in the US soon

You will only be able to access Luna in the US (bar Hawaii, Alaska, and U.S. territories) initially and you can apply to be part of the beta here. We do not have a date for the launch of early access but it will be this year.

Will games leave Luna +

Games will rotate out of the Luna + library however it has been confirmed that games in the initial line-up will not leave during early access. When games are due to leave Luna Plus Amazon has stated that they will give notice.

Will there be an achievement system?

Yes, there will an achievement system however it will not be there at the start of early access. In a quote on GamesRadar it is stated

Ubisoft and Uplay have their achievement system and they’ll be supported. Our own one will be rolled out within early access. We’re thinking about scenarios like this, and it’s one of the things we’re excited to learn more about in talking to customers. Also, I think that as awesome as achievements are, they’re maybe an opportunity to innovate and do something slightly different than what’s going on today where all platforms have the same achievement set, they’re just sort of bridged. We’d love to do something a little more novel and exciting there. 

Is there Twitch integration?

Yes there will be. When you are selecting a game to play you will be able to see current Twitch streams of that game. Also if you watching on Twitch you will be able to start a game from the platform as well. More Twitch integration is teased for example by Ubisoft

Luna will also feature Twitch integration, allowing players to go from watching streams of their favorite games to playing instantly, as well as support for Alexa – Amazon’s cloud-based voice service. “At the service level, it’ll be a lot easier to integrate with Twitch and to use Twitch from the game itself,” Early says. “When it becomes part of the platform infrastructure, it becomes easier for us because we don’t have to do as much of the integration ourselves. And when you look at something like Hyper Scape, it already has really strong Twitch integration across a variety of platforms. For Alexa, the primary benefit there is to use it the same way you would use it for Prime Video, so you could just say, ‘Alexa, play Assassin’s Creed Valhalla.’ And if a game integrates with Alexa, then a development team could explore what they do with voice.”

What internet speed do I need for Luna?

You will require internet speed of 10Mps for the low end and 35Mps for 4K.

By Duncan Baxter

I have been playing since the Commodore 64 days and have basically played every console going since then including the Ouya! I have been a fan of cloud gaming since the Onlive days and that was my favorite platform. Cloud gaming will revolutionize how we play games going forward and it is just a matter of time when it takes off.

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